Suicide of the House

Who was it who said of the Palestinians that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity? You could say the same of the Republican Party. Then there is the adage, attributed to Napoleon, that you should never interrupt an enemy when he is making a mistake. The Republicans violated that one today, too.

By rights, the Democrats should be in disarray. The Biden administration has been a disaster, as pretty much everyone knows, regardless of what some loyalists may tell a pollster. And yet it is the Republicans who can’t get their act together. Once again, they have bailed out the Democrats with an idiotic vote to oust Kevin McCarthy as Speaker. Only eight Republicans voted for Matt Gaetz’s motion, but of course every Democrat voted to get rid of McCarthy. Whatever their faults, the Democrats have party loyalty, and they know their self-interest when they see it. Unlike many Republicans.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board described Gaetz as “Biden’s favorite Republican,” with good cause. And that was before today’s vote:

Mr. McCarthy had worked until the day before a shutdown deadline to pass a 45-day funding bill that included a spending reduction, money for border security, and a commission on the growing federal debt. It wouldn’t have passed the Senate, but it would at least have given the House leverage in conference. The GOP’s rejectionists defeated everything.

That left Mr. McCarthy no choice but to seek Democratic votes for a funding bill that included no GOP priorities.

Which is what the tiny minority who blocked a better bill are now blaming him for.

Democrats could decide to provide some votes to save the Speaker, but they may prefer to see the GOP conference in chaos.

Well, yes. That is what they preferred. Because while Democrats may be evil, they are not stupid.

The eight Republicans responsible for this debacle are Gaetz, Andy Biggs and Eli Crane of Arizona, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Bob Good of Virginia, Matt Rosendale of Montana, Ken Buck of Colorado and Nancy Mace of South Carolina.

Where does the House go from here? It is not clear how a new Speaker can be elected. No Republican except McCarthy can come close to winning a majority. Maybe the dissidents will declare “victory” and vote to reinstate McCarthy. Maybe the House will be leaderless for a considerable time (Rep. Patrick McHenry will take over as acting Speaker). Or maybe the Democrats will take control of the chamber.

Once again, Republicans with no plan and no strategy for success have given the Democrats a badly-needed win.

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